The Fort Dodge swim team continues to learn as they go, which is perfectly fine with head coach Joel Greathouse.
The Dodgers dropped a dual to defending state runner-up West Des Moines Dowling Thursday night, 105-65, but Greathouse saw enough time drops to be satisfied.
"We are a young team, but these kids have come so far in a short time," Greathouse said. "Normally, this time of year, you see times drop and than kind of stay the same. But we are still dropping times and that is just great to see."
Messenger photo by Dale Wooten
Nick Sanford swims for Fort Dodge against Dowling on Thursday evening. For more photos, please visit CU at www.messengernews.net
"We have a long way to go, and Dowling wasn't at full-strength, but they matched up times with us and our guys didn't back down."
Cal Brandt led off two victorious relays, while also claiming the 200 individual medley event in 2:15.11 and the 100 fly in 57.80.
Brandt swam the lead legs of the 200 medley relay (1:48.33) and 200 freestyle relay (1:36.23).
"Cal had a really nice night," Greathouse said. "He is one of our more experienced swimmers and we are counting on him to provide that kind of effort all year."
Nick Sanford, Josh Lee and Austin Sanford joined Brandt on the 200 medley, while Austin Sanford, Lee and Rob Leigh swam the other three legs of the 200 free.
Lee scored the other Fort Dodge first place, winning the 50 freestyle in 23.39.
Hage was second in the 200 freestyle (2:00.63) and Nick Sanford earned silver in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.56). The 400 freestyle relay of Hage, Tucker Van Wey, Leigh and Bennett Lang placed second in 3:44.01.
"These kids are learning a lot as we go," Greathouse said. "Quite a few of them are figuring out what it takes to compete. Once you are counted on each time you get in the pool, you start to feel the pressure, and so far, they have stepped up to that pressure."
Austin Sanford (100 free, 55.80), Hage (500 free, 5:33.58) and Lee (100 back, 1:02.04) all placed third.
Fort Dodge returns to action Dec. 17 when they host Newton.
Riley Helmers (200 free, 2:22.09; 500 free, 7:00.01), Lang (100 fly, 1:12.70), Steve Liao (100 breast, 1:24.03) and the 200 free relay of Peter Lyon, Anthony Hernandez, Carter Bemrich and Liao (1:58.87) all scored seconds for the Dodger junior varsity.